February 1865

 


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The Diaries of Ralph Leland Goodrich, 1859-1867

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February 1865


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February 1, 1865

At saloon. Rainy. No business at all. No news today. Some more troops going off.

February 2, 1865

At saloon. Business very dull. Nothing at all.  I do not know what to do.

February 3, 1865

At saloon. Business dull again today. We were shut up today about half past seven o’clock and also were two others…

February 4, 1865

At saloon. Business pretty good. There all the time all day. Lange is a fool.

February 5, 1865

Sunday. At saloon. Business pretty good. About eleven o’clock, detective shut us up. Lange mad at me. I think he is going to take some Jew tailor into business with him. Wrote letter to [my cousin] Lucy Stratton today. Wiedemann here in evening.

February 6, 1865

At saloon. Got exempted today from militia. Nothing new.

February 7, 1865

At saloon. Nothing new.

February 8, 1865

At saloon. Nothing new.

February 9, 1865

At saloon. Lange drunk & treating [customers to free drinks].

February 10, 1865

At saloon. Business dull. Mary seems to be worse today.

February 11, 1865

At saloon. Lange says he will not have anything to do with the Jew. They have split. Not much business.

February 12, 1865

Sunday. At saloon… Saw Flower. Took a walk with him way down below Genges’. Shaved off my whiskers & mustache today.

Mary quite bad off. Oh God, grant she may recover if it be thy will. Oh God, prosper me also. Let me not live continuously in poverty like this that I am in. Oh prosper me. I am in debt & I do not know when I can get any money. I have tried to borrow & I am afraid that I have borrowed more than I can ever repay.

February 13, 1865

At saloon. Business dull. No letters yet.

February 14, 1865

At saloon. No business.

February 15, 1865

At saloon. Nothing new. Business dull.

February 16, 1865

At saloon. Got drunk. Business dull.

February 17, 1865

At saloon. Boozy a little. Mary bad off.

February 18, 1865

At saloon. Nothing new. Business dull. Mary sick & failing.

February 19, 1865

Sunday. Did not stay at saloon. Afternoon, up to Mrs. Botsford. She said that she got a letter every two weeks from [my cousin] Lucy Stratton. She is quite a pleasant young lady.

February 20, 1865

At saloon. Got drunk. In evening, Battery boys there. Came up. Julian Bridges drunk went alone with his Josephine drunken. He raised hell at house....

February 21, 1865

At saloon. Business dull. Rainy. Nothing new.

February 22, 1865

At saloon.

February 23, 1865

At saloon. Got drunk. Had a fight with [my partner] Lange. Yesterday, got letter from home with draft for one hundred dollars. [1]  Dr. Dodge cashed it.

February 24, 1865

At saloon. Got drunk. So did Lange. I slept in kitchen last night.

February 25, 1865

At saloon. Cold. Business dull. Wrote letter home. [2]

February 26, 1865

At saloon.

February 27, 1865

At saloon.

February 28, 1865

At saloon. Schriefer told me that Lange wants to kick me out of the business.


[1]    Goodrich received the following letter from his sister Sarah on February 23, 1865:

February 7, 1865   Owego [New York]  

Dear Brother Ralph. I have but a few minutes to spare & can write but a few lines. Stephen sends you a check of one hundred dollars on the Tioga bank in a letter which we will mail this afternoon with this. They told him that was the safest way to send it. I hope you will get it all right. I hope your circumstances will improve in the spring. It seems to me that you could do better here at the North, and your health better. I believe you have been worse than you let us know. If those people that you lent to will not pay, can’t they be turned out? Do you have the rheumatism now? What has made your hair come out? Write us more particulars about yourself. Does Lucy Stratton’s friend live there in Little Rock?  

[Augusta’s son] John goes to school [here in Owego] and makes great improvement in reading. The teacher – a Mr. Holdridge from Spencer – is going to have an exebition at the close of the school. John speaks the piece, “You _____ expect one of my age.”  [His little brother] Willie has learned nearly the whole of it & says it is very funny indeed. Willie has been sick nearly all winter, but is better so that he walks around now.  [Stephen’s horse] Prince is sick or lame, so that Steve cannot use him. I hope you can do better than to go farther south in the spring. Write as soon as you receive this for we shall be anxious to hear. All send love. Write as often as you can. Ever your affectionate sister, -- Sarah [Goodrich]  

[2]    On February 25, 1865, Goodrich penned the following letter home:

February 1865      Little Rock, Arkansas

My dear mother & all.  I received the letter from Sarah saying that Steve would send a check by the same mail several days before I received the latter. I am very much obliged for it but I don’t know when I will be able to repay it. Sarah asks me some questions which I have never thought proper to write before. I have been very sick, but with nothing worse than chills & fever. I am over with that now I think, but I am weak. The doctor tells me I have the heart disease. I have had a bad cold & cough for several months and I am glad I have given up school teaching. But you need not be alarmed about me now. I believe I am getting sound & well again. The falling out of my hair was only the result of fever. I had it cut short off to my head & shaved my face clean, & now I look just like a baby. You said you would write a receipt for my hair. I wish you would in your next.  

I have visited [Mrs. Botsford, Lucy Stratton’s friend several times and I find her a very agreeable and intelligent young lady. She told me that her hair had begun to fall out since she came here. Her husband has been in Little Rock nearly a year & he has got nearly bald. There is no bank here and I do not know what to do with the Draft unless I sell it at a discount to some Commission merchant who does business in New York City. I was trying yesterday to see what I could do with it. If I cannot dispose of it, I should be obliged to send it back to you. The Adams Express company must certainly have an agent in Owego. Chatfield used to be the agent & you sent butter to New York City. That express company is good enough & anything sent by Adams Express would come safe enough. You could send anything with safety to me that way.  

I have no clothes. The pants & coat you sent me before the war from Platt I still wear as a Sunday suit, but rather thread bare. If we could have kept on last summer doing the same business that we did, I would have two or three thousand dollars by this time. Some men have made fortunes here since the army came and others have lost their all. If the army is paid off soon, or before it leaves this post, we would do good business. But as it is, we do not pay expenses & are running in debt every day. There is a good deal owing to us & when the soldiers get money, we will then have some. I eat but two meals a day & sometimes but one. [Remainder of letter missing]

 


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